John Goodlad's A Place Called School, published in 1984, is the chief fruit of what is generally considered the most extensive on-site examination of U.S. schools ever undertaken. Deftly combining quantitative and qualitative data, Goodlad offers both a robust portrait of that place called “school” and a broad agenda for improvement. Goodlad's account of the commonplaces of schooling, the competing functions of schools, the explicit and implicit curriculum, and the circumstances of teaching make it a landmark in curriculum studies.

The 4-year “Study of Schooling” was motivated in part by Goodlad's concern that many prior efforts at school improvement had proceeded in ignorance of how schools actually function. In contrast, the study that Goodlad devised is legendary in scope, drawing data from 7 geographic areas, ...

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